November 13

November 13, 2020
By Pastor Jim Cords
Coming and Going
Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” 37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.14:1“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 13:33-John 14:3
         Leaving and beginning well are things that we want so much to do well. But it is rarely easy to explain why we are going in a way that others can fully appreciate.  It is even sometimes painful when people make false assumptions as to our motivations.

         As I read the Bible, I am struck by the numerous moments when Jesus or Paul are on the move. A few years ago, Marilyn and I were on a trip “in the footsteps of Paul.” I was so impressed to visit and learn about the church in Antioch as we walked the same roads Paul walked many years ago. This congregation became “the sending church” for the missionary journeys of Paul. They lived their lives together and prayerfully recognized the call for Paul to begin a new mission for Christ and the Church to the Gentiles.

         It hurts to leave those we love, regardless of calling or purpose. There is mourning of what we will miss out on and in the new callings we experience. It’s difficult to leave. And frankly, it hurts. God made it abundantly clear that Marilyn and I were to come to St. Timothy’s. This makes the decision easy. “If it is God who is calling you to something, “no” is not an option.” While the decision may not be hard, the realities of saying goodbye to our beloved congregation for 10 years is still painful.

        For Marilyn and me, leaving Desert Hope during this time of COVID restrictions, made saying goodbye quite difficult. We had many gatherings of a few people each. It was sad to think about missing out on the coffee times and the dinners we so regularly had with many of our church family even as God was providing us with a new beautiful family. So what to do? Take the time to express your love. Over and over again we were blessed by those who shared their love and best wishes for us. And I hope they too were blessed by our expressions of love.

         In John 13 and 14, Jesus is telling the disciples that he must go and that they could not come with him. Then he promises that they will be together again. As Christians we find deep hope in the promise of God that our separations are only temporary. It is in the fullness of that hope we find the courage to say goodbye in a way that sends others to their next chapter of life and service with our blessing and love.

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